A few weeks ago, I was flipping through the channels and happened to come across a wonderful show I hadn’t heard of before. Food Tech, which airs on the History Channel, is hosted by chef Bobby Bognar. The show follows its host as he travels the country deconstructing some of America’s favorite meals. My attention was immediately rapt by the Pancakes & Bacon (Yummy, BACON!) episode and I stayed tuned for the Mexican episode that followed, in which Bobby fishes for Mahi Mahi in Hawaii, harvests agave for tequila in Mexico, and ripens the perfect avocado. Well, this got my belly rumbling and the gears in my brain turning. The next day, I picked up a package of frozen Mahi Mahi fillets. Initially I’d been planning to prepare fish tacos with tomato salsa and probably a little guacamole. But, then I remembered the Spicy Mango Salsa I used to make and a new idea took shape. So, tonight I offer you Tropical Fish Tacos with a Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice.
The Flour Tortilla Experience
For me, one of the exciting things about this blog is that it motivates me to broaden my culinary horizons; to try things I haven’t tried before and to “perfect” the things I’m experienced with. When I initially thought through this meal, I planned on using store-bought tortillas. In fact, I didn’t give it much of a thought. Just bought the tortillas and considered that part taken care of. Then, this morning, on a whim, I decided to run an online search for flour tortilla recipes. The recipes looked basic enough and I had all the necessary ingredients. So, I decided to go for it. I would try my hand at flour tortillas with the help of my two little assistants. I figured I had nothing to lose. If they worked out, I’d have homemade tortillas and a recipe to share with you. If they were a total flop, I’d laugh with you about the experience and use the store-bought tortillas from my fridge.
Well…they worked! And, aside from my kitchen and two little boys being covered in flour, they were a piece of cake to make. Now, I’m not saying that I have any intention of making homemade tortillas every time I need them or suggesting that there’s anything wrong with using store-bought tortillas. But, if you have the desire and a little extra time to make your own, it’s a totally reasonable task and the result is delicious!
Now, you may remember me saying how I rarely follow a recipe exactly as it’s written. But, this is an exception. There’s a chemistry to baking that makes precise measurements important. Some may argue that tortillas aren’t exactly “baked” per se, but considering you’re working with a dough, it counts as baking in my book. Since I followed the recipe exactly as it was written, I am not going to republish it in this blog, but you can find it here.
The dough came together easily and was very manageable to work with. Keeping your hands, rolling pin, table, and the dough dusted with flour helps prevent it from sticking. My 3 year old had the best description of the rolling process. To paraphrase him, “You start with a golf ball, make it a cookie, roll it into a pancake, and then you have a tortilla!” It’s a pretty accurate description. My little assistants loved measuring the ingredients and keeping the table well dusted with flour. Hands down, the best way to cook with little kids running around is to engage them in the process!
And for your viewing pleasure, a few pics…
And, now for the recipe you came here looking for:
Tropical Fish Tacos with Spicy Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice
Flour tortillas (homemade or store-bought)
For the Fish:
- 2 Mahi Mahi fillets, about 6 ounces each (or other white flaky fish)
- Juice of 1 Lime (Approx. 2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup Canola Oil
- 1 tsp Chile Power
- 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
For the Salsa
- 1 large, ripe Mango, diced (See my guide for dicing mangoes, here.)
- 1-2 Jalapenos, seeds removed, finely diced
- 3-4 Green onions, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 Lime (Approx. 2 Tbsp)
- Salt and Pepper
For the Rice
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1.5 cups (12 ounces) coconut milk
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
For the Salsa: Combine all ingredients. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. (Like your salsa extra spicy? Add a second jalapeno!) Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Letting it sit in the fridge for a while gives the flavors a chance to mix and mingle and get to know each other better. **If sharing this meal with kids, you may want to put aside some diced mango before adding the jalapeno or onions, depending on their tastes.
For the Rice: Combine rice, coconut milk, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir once to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
For the Fish: Combine oil, lime juice, chile powder and garlic. Pour over the fish and allow to marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Fire up your grill or heat up a grill pan. Remove fish from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on one side. Then flip and grill on the other side for another 5 minutes or so, until cooked through and flaky. **As an alternative to grilling, cook the fish on a baking sheet in a 450 degrees oven until cooked through. It should be opaque and flaky; 15 minutes ought to do it.
To assemble the meal: Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 325 degrees oven until warm. Fold the warm tortillas in half and fill with grilled Mahi-Mahi and mango salsa. Enjoy with a scoop of coconut rice on the side! (Serves about 4)